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Tag Archive for Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division

Swiss Accounts No Longer Safe for Tax Dodgers!

Swiss bank employees handing over US Depositor information to the United States.Taxpayers who still believe they can hide secret Swiss bank accounts from the IRS are “beyond foolish,” the top United States tax prosecutor said as a five-year crackdown expands to new offshore havens.

The enforcement drive has forced a “remarkable” change in the ability of the U.S. to find secret accounts in Switzerland, the world’s largest offshore financial center with about $2.2 trillion of assets, said Kathryn Keneally, assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s tax division.

“If someone had an account in Switzerland, it is beyond foolish to think that that account is going to remain secret,” said Keneally, 55. “In the last five years, we’ve seen a remarkable change in our ability to get information concerning Swiss bank accounts. It’s extraordinary. Switzerland is no longer a good place to hide assets for tax reasons.”

Keneally, in her first interview since taking the job in April 2012, said a new U.S. amnesty program for Swiss banks to disclose how they aided tax evasion puts taxpayers and offshore enablers at risk of prosecution.

Since 2009, the U.S. has prosecuted 68 U.S. taxpayers, 3 Swiss banks, and 30 bankers, lawyers, and advisers. Another 38,000 Americans moved $5.5 billion to the U.S. and avoided prosecution by saying who helped them offshore. Read more

Fiscal Transparency: They Really Mean It! IRS Helping Norway Catch Tax Evaders With Secret US Accounts

TaxConnections Picture - Norwegian Bank Notes &  FlagJohn Doe Summons

The Department of Justice just announced that various United States federal courts have entered orders authorizing the Internal Revenue Service to serve so-called “John Doe summonses” on eighteen US banks and financial institutions. The John Doe summonses are seeking information about persons who have used specific credit or debit cards in Norway. The cards were issued by various US banks and it is highly suspected that the Norwegian citizens who set up the US accounts to which they relate were not in compliance with Norwegian tax laws.

A “John Doe Summons” is a very powerful weapon against tax evasion. It generally directs a financial institution (e.g., here, a US bank, such as Prairie Sun Bank with offices in Minnesota, for example) to produce records identifying certain persons (here, all Norwegian persons) having current or closed accounts at the institution. The summons need not identify any individual by name – the general description (e.g., all Norwegian citizens) is enough! Indeed, the John Doe summons has helped IRS catch many US tax evaders who were using offshore accounts in Switzerland, India, and Lichtenstein etc.

Norway Finding Tax Evaders In The US With IRS’ Help

The DOJ announcement provides that the Norwegian authorities have reason to believe, based upon the use of payment cards in Norway that were issued by U.S. banks, that unidentified card holders may have failed to report financial account information or income on their Norwegian tax returns. Court papers cite examples where individuals Read more